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1. NATURAL GAS

Chesapeake turns into buyout target as top investor 'cracks the whip'

Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s top shareholder is urging CEO Aubrey McClendon and the board of directors to cut the gas producer down to size by curtailing ambitious spending plans and to consider selling the company outright if the price is right. Southeastern Asset Management, which owns 13.6 percent of Chesapeake, sent a letter to McClendon and the board yesterday that said shareholders are all ears if a large investor offers to pay a substantial premium for the second-biggest U.S. gas producer.

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